The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare is hiring lawyers to represent victims of gender-based violence men and women who seek the ministry’s intervention.
In an interview, Principal Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Mary Shaba, said partners such as the UN Women and UNFPA are supporting the initiative after noting that a lot of victimised men and women were denied justice as they lacked financial resources to hire lawyers to represent them in courts.
“We have one on full time employment, three volunteer lawyers and we are planning to higher some more four,” Shaba explained.
Shaba added that the lawyers have represented so many cases and made appeals to cases where justice was not fully granted.
“We had a case where a man kidnapped three young girls and continuously defiled them, he was sentenced to only two years imprisonment with hard labour but after an appeal by this ministry the man has now been charged twelve years,” said Shaba.
She said it was disheartening to note that some cases were given suspended sentences while the whole evidence was there.
Shaba said the ministry thought of hiring its own lawyers after noting that some cases the ministry received were not followed systematically as lawyers from the Attorney General’s office were not available most of the times.
“We really appreciate efforts by the Attorney General’s Office, but the cases are too many, we are receiving ten to forty cases a day and we had to look for alternatives,” explained Shaba.
Attorney general Kalekeni Kaphale described the development as a positive one.
He said his office was facing challenges meeting demands for lawyers in various ministries due to financial shortfalls.
He said Lawyers from his office mainly provide legal advice to the Ministries but in some circumstances represent cases in courts.